Handguns > Revolver

The Taurus 445 Ultra-Lite .44 Spl. Revolver

The 445 is a welcome return of a lightweight medium-framed .44 Spl. carry gun.

12/8/2011

It’s the time of the year when temperatures are dropping throughout the country, and shorts and shirt sleeves are being replaced by long pants, boots and winter jackets. This time of year is great for those who practice legal concealed carry, since the clothing appropriate for this weather make it much easier to distribute defensive equipment around the body. However, cool weather brings with it other considerations. Is a small-caliber pocket pistol, one that travels so well in the heat of summer, going to offer enough stopping power against a threat wearing layers of thick, protective clothing? Can you hold on to the tiny grip with gloved hands? Are the small controls going to be workable with cold, wet fingers?

With these considerations in mind, the recently re-released Taurus 445 Ultra-Lite .44 Spl. is a defensive option worth looking at. Although regularly decreed a dead technology by fans of semi-automatic pistols, defensive revolvers just seem to stick around. And the arrival of frost on the window pane is a good reminder of why. Revolvers are simple to operate, with no levers, buttons or magazines to wrestle with. The grips are larger and easier to hold on to, and the larger triggers and trigger guard openings are much more glove friendly. Best of all, when chambered for big-bore loads like the .44 Spl., short-barreled medium-framed revolvers offer serious stopping power.

Gun Features
As it strived to stay in touch with the market and bring innovative revolver options to dealers’ shelves, Taurus let some product lines fall to the background. The 445 Ultra-Lite revolver represents the revival of one of the variety of discontinued .44 Spls. that used to populate the Taurus catalogue. It's a welcome return of a practical and powerful defensive option.

The 445 Ultra-Lite is a double-action revolver featuring a 2-inch barrel, fixed sights, a five-shot cylinder and an unloaded weight of 22 ounces. The stainless-steel barrel and cylinder have a matte finish that blends seamlessly with the lightweight alloy frame. The full-size Ribber grip is comfortable and hand-filling, designed to manage the stout recoil of the .44 Spl. load.

The wide combat trigger offers a smooth double-action pull reminiscent of much more expensive revolvers, while the single-action trigger is short and crisp, gauging at just 3 pounds 10 ounces. Unlike earlier versions of this revolver, the 2-inch barrel is unported. The overall fit and finish of the revolver is very good. The cylinder shows a nice, tight lock-up with the hammer cocked. The 445's hammer is fitted with a Taurus security lock and, as with other Taurus products, the revolver arrives from the factory with a Lifetime Repair Policy.

The .44 Spl. Cartridge
While working with this gun at the range, I had the opportunity to show it to another shooter who mentioned he was in the market for a concealment revolver. He was not familiar with the .44 Spl. loading, which was not surprising, as the round’s heritage dates back to the 19th century. During that time, when America was still mostly a frontier, blackpowder rounds like the .44 American, .44 Russian, .44-40 Winchester and .45 Colt had proven themselves to have the reliability, accuracy and stopping power needed for effective self-defense applications.

In 1907, Smith & Wesson decided to capitalize on the popularity of these big-bore rounds while incorporating the use of recently developed semi-smokeless and smokeless powders. The company’s new round was based on the venerable .44 Russian, which had a reputation for accuracy. The parent case was stretched a bit to make room for the bulkier powders, loaded with a .432 caliber 246-grain bullet that traveled at about 755 fps, and the .44 Spl. was born. With the arrival of the .44 Mag. in the 1950s—a souped-up, longer-cased variation of the .44 Spl.—production of guns chambered specifically for .44 Spl. tapered off.

As defensive revolvers have become smaller and lighter due to advancements in metallurgy and gun design, the .44 Spl. has enjoyed a few revivals. One of its supporters has been Taurus with its 445 series of revolvers. In some ways, it takes a lightweight revolver like the 445 to appreciate what the .44 Spl. still has to offer.

Many of the alloy snubnose guns on the market today are chambered for .38 Spl. or .357 Mag. The former is an adequate load, but certainly not the most powerful. The latter has plenty of power, but at the cost of a concussive report, a sun-bright muzzle flash and a wrist-wrenching level of recoil. The modern .44 Spl., loaded with bullets between 135- to 250-grains in weight, traveling at sub-sonic speeds, offers more knock-down power than the .38 Spl., but at a reduced level of recoil and flash than the .357 Mag. After explaining some of this to my new friend at the range, I simply passed him the revolver and some defense-grade ammunition and let him take it for a spin. He found out for himself that while the recoil produced by .44 Spl. rounds from a trimmed down revolver is still stout, when the loads are fired from the 445 it's not the punishing experience one might expect.

Range Tests
The features of the 445 Ultra-Lite revolver worked together to provide a positive shooting experience. The full-size Ribber grip does a great job of reducing the punch to the palm that comes with shooting big bullets from a light gun. The revolver ran flawlessly with all of the ammunition tested, and the HKS CA-44
speed loaders and Tuff Products Model 644 Tuff Strips both proved to be handy for carrying and loading extra rounds of ammunition.

Accuracy testing was conducted from a bench rest with targets set at 25 yards using five consecutive five-shot groups. The Double Tap 180-grain Remington jacketed hollow point is one of the hotter loads available for the .44 Spl., and it produced the best five-shot average of 2.43 inches. A close second place went to the Hornady Critical Defense 165-grain FTX with a five-shot average of 2.56 inches. The Double Tap and Hornady loads share the title of best single five-shot groups, with both loads producing a 2-inch five-shot group in the course of testing. The third load tested was the CCI Blazer aluminum cased 200-grain Gold Dot jacketed hollow point. This ammunition produced an average group size of 3.12 inches at 25 yards, with a best single group of 2.50 inches. This is an impressive set of groups for a production snub-nosed revolver at this distance.

Final Thoughts
Taurus' decision to re-release this .44 Spl. medium-frame Ultra-Lite revolver is a good one. With .44 Spl. ammunition readily available from major ammunition manufacturers such as Cor-Bon, Federal Premium, Hornady and Winchester, as well as boutique operations like Buffalo Bore, Double Tap and Grizzly Cartridge Company, shooters should have little difficulty keeping this revolver well-fed. Despite my focus on the 445 as a "winter" gun, it really does belong in a year-round defense plan. This revolver's lightweight, smooth trigger and potent punch make it a solid option for personal protection.

Manufacturer: Taurus; Taurususa.com
Model: 445SS2UL
Action:
Double-Action Revolver
Caliber: .44 Spl.
Finish: Matte Stainless
Grips: Ribber Grip
Sights: Fixed
Barrel Length: 2”
Overall Length: 7”
Height: 5.2”
Width: 1.5”
Weight: 22 ozs.
Capacity: 5 Rounds
Rifle Grooves:
Suggested Retail Price: $514

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25 Responses to The Taurus 445 Ultra-Lite .44 Spl. Revolver

Robert VanElsberg wrote:
October 27, 2014

I was reading some of the comments further down on the page and noticed one concerning Taurus customer service. Until fairly recently that was a problem. In fact, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida have given them an 'F' on customer service. I believe Taurus has had a CEO change since 2011 because I had great service when I had to return my 445 UL for cylinder release problems. The customer service folks I spoke to were very helpful and kept me up to date via email on where my revolver was in the repair process. And they got it back to me quite quickly -- less than three weeks. This is a huge improvement over what I experienced in 1987 when I sent a revolve in for warranty work and it took 13 weeks and came back with the primary problem unaddressed. If anyone else reads this and has also had recent experience with Taurus' customer service, I'd be interested in hearing what they have to share.

Robert VanElsberg wrote:
October 01, 2014

I really like my Taurus Model 445 UL in .44 Special. Mine has a nice, bright blue finish, which appeals to me. What appeals even more is the accuracy of this revolver. My standard practice load is a 180-grain truncated cone cast bullet on top of 5.5 grains of Red Dot. When fired single-action, I get one-ragged-hole groups at 5-7 yards, right where the sights are looking. Double action groups are still good and this is one gun that does well for point shooting. In a self defense situation I am perfectly confident I can hit what I need to. And the .44 Special is an excellent defense cartridge--I only wish more guns were offered in that caliber. Until then I am plenty satisfied with my revolver. It rests on my night stand at night and rides in one of my two 'fighting fanny packs' during the day.

John wrote:
September 13, 2013

It's a great size for concealed carry for biking. I bought a Lo_Jac Pistol Pouch from the 'abetterholster' web site that fits this revolver rather nicely.

bobby wrote:
February 16, 2013

Ammunition scarce found some shotshell bullets... are they for this revolver

Seth wrote:
February 13, 2013

I also have the 445 and tho I generaly carry a kahr cw45 I like to switch it up from time to time. The 445 is lightweight, highly accurate (for a snub), and has more than enough power. I'd suggest it to anyone. By the way I traded a charter in on it due to the washer issues mentioned above, and I'm glad I did.

Alex Clark wrote:
October 02, 2012

Any chronograph results? I wonder just how fats those slugs are goping from that 2 inch barrel? I was teased with the other info regarding the ammo, and then left in the cold.

Casey Taylor wrote:
July 25, 2012

To answer Doug below, I've had trouble with bullets unseating from the case when using Remington lead ammo, which causes the cylinder to bind as they creep forward. Stick with jacketed bullets and you should be fine.

simone wrote:
December 14, 2011

real pretty this taurus is

Gary wrote:
December 12, 2011

Shelby sure had a different experience with Taurus than I did. My Raging Bull in .454 had a problem with the action freezing up which they quickly fixed. Runs great now. Taurus is probably the most modern company in the world producing firearms so don't worry about them being outside of the U.S. Thanks to Taurus our domestic companies have to up their game due to the competition which means consumers have more quality guns to choose from.

Shelby wrote:
December 11, 2011

A great platform for many reasons that has done before not only by Taurus but but S&W and Charter Arms as well. Unfortunetly of the three its the only one made over seas and the Taurus Lifetime Warranty is full of poor customer service, lack of communication, and an expected 4 to 6 month turn around regardless of the problem!

John wrote:
December 10, 2011

I have taurus tracker in 44mag 2.5 ported barrel with fiber optic front sight. It replaced the same model in 45colt I bought first. Both shot great, the 44 is very controlable with 240 grain bullets, I tried some of my 300 grain hunting rounds from my model 29 "once" not a good idea.

Rachael devine wrote:
December 10, 2011

Sounds pretty awesome!!!! I would love to shoot one. How much do they run?

Doug Sullivan wrote:
December 10, 2011

I have a 445 I bought used in about 1998. It's the bobbed hammer version. I was working up some LSW loads for my S&W 629, and shot them in both guns yesterday, before noticing this article in my email. The 445 is a fine little gun, but the Taurus grips were too small for my huge hands. I replaced them with Hogues, but they're too large for carry/concealment. I'm not fond of the ribbers, and wish Pachmayr or someone made more suitable grips. Maybe the reintroduction will catch the grip makers' notice. I found that any holster that fits the S&W K frame will fit the Taurus 445. I'm glad Taurus is reintroducing this model - it's a great little gun.

Joe O. wrote:
December 10, 2011

Wish they would bring back the full line of Total Titanium revolvers. Been looking for a model 450 in 45LC for years. Those that have them are in no hurry to get rid of them...which ought to tell you something!!!

Jeff P. wrote:
December 10, 2011

I have had no binding problems with my Taurus. Mine is older and ported. I love this gun. It's grip is slightly larger than the Charter Arms which is better for me. Lead loads=less recoil. Jacketed rounds=more recoil. No more recoil than a 357 magnum though. When out and about, it stays on you belt when using the "facilities" w/o to unholster the extra weight. I LOVE THIS GUN!

jeff wrote:
December 10, 2011

I have one.The most accurate snub nosed gun I've ever shot.I did change the grip with a Houge.Feels even better to shoot.Recommend for anyone.

Bill wrote:
December 10, 2011

You had me looking when I saw 445. I thought it was a 445 Super Mag.

super D wrote:
December 10, 2011

The original Charter Arms Bulldog was touted as the lightest factory mfg'd .44 spl. at 19 oz. with a 3 in. barrel.I have reloaded and fired many 1000's of rounds thru the one's I own with no problem's but the new 22 0z. Taurus appears to be a welcomed new comer.

Kyle wrote:
December 10, 2011

I've owned one of the first Taurus 445s in .44 Special for a number of years now. It's light weight and good grip design makes it a pleasure to carry and shoot, and even in rapid fire double action I can keep all rounds in the 9-ring at 7 yards if I do my part, which I consider more than adequate for this type of weapon. The porting on mine seems to reduce the perceived recoil - don't understand why they eliminated this from the re-released model. Never had any problems with binding or any other issues, even with pretty hot loads...in short, I like it and I carry it.

Carol wrote:
December 10, 2011

Being a female 67 with artheritis. Do you have a suggestion for a good carry gun that I could handle. Recoil is bad on the one I have.

Gary wrote:
December 09, 2011

Dale, I have a Charter Arms Target Bulldog in .357 besides my Taurus .41 Titanium Tracker and I can tell you that the Taurus is twice the gun the Charter Arms is. While the Taurus has been trouble free, the Charter (mine was from the old company so maybe they have changed this) has a nylon washer inside the crane screw that is supposed to take up space and keep the cylinder tight, front to back. The washer doesn't last long because it gets beaten to a pulp by recoil and then you have a cylinder with "headspace" so you need to lay in a supply of washers from Charter. Other than that, it is dependable and quite accurate.

Dale wrote:
December 09, 2011

I would be interested in this revolver and would like to know if anyone has had problems with this model binding up while firing.

COL John J. O'Connor wrote:
December 08, 2011

Sounds like the old Charter Arms Bulldog which was heavier.

Gman wrote:
December 08, 2011

The Taurus 445 Ultra Lite looks good but, I pick and own the Charter Arms Bull Dog .44spl. The stainless version with a 2.5in. barrel is 1 oz. lighter and cost $100 less. Both manufacturers have the life time warranty but the best thing of all, the Bull Dog is "built in America" which means alot to me.

Gary wrote:
December 08, 2011

Taurus has a great line of Tracker revolvers in various calibers. If the .44 Special seems a little light, you can step up to a .41 or .44 Mag and load it to any level you wish. My .41 Titanium is ported and with the Ribber grips is actually not bad to shoot - if you remember to hold on so the trigger guard doesn't recoil into your middle finger. The 4-inch barrel loses an inch to the porting but I am still getting over 1300 fps with the 170-grain Sierra JHC. A great light-weight weapon for targets up to mountain lion.